The importance of UX copywriting
The vast majority of people previewing a digital product do not want a hard sell sales pitch or a drawn-out, infomercial style advertisement. Instead, people want to know how the product solves their problem in plain, simple, and brief terms.
Effective UX copywriting convinces potential customers to buy into the product, lends credibility to what the company is offering, and builds brand awareness. UX professionals are the most qualified to carry out these copywriting duties because they have the skills and experience to become engrossed in a target user group and leverage the wants and needs of a particular audience.
An essential component of UX writing is the inclusion of simple language that avoids specialized vocabulary that the average person would have to look up in order to comprehend. This isn't a graduate school dissertation or a peer-reviewed scholarly article. And the goal is not to impress someone with an expansive vocabulary. If a potential customer has to think too hard about the information they are taking in, you've already lost them.
As author and user experience expert Torry Podmajersky puts it in his book, 'Strategic Writing for UX: Drive Engagement, Conversion, and Retention with Every Word,' the purpose of UX writing is to align the goals of people and the organization.
Podmajersky also explains how companies need to choose their copywriters carefully because when a product designer pulls double duty and serves as a copywriter, bad things usually happen. It seems counterintuitive, right? Wouldn't you want the most knowledgeable person for a product to be the one explaining it? Not necessarily.
Since the designer is an expert involved with every subtle detail of the product from the get-go, it can be challenging for them to explain a product simply enough for the average consumer to appreciate it.
So much thought and effort go into writing content, and for starters, brevity is critical. Users don't want to comb through pages and pages of dense text on the blue screen of their computer, tablet, or phone. Besides, users are constantly scanning content anyway, so it's unnecessary to spend time crafting countless paragraphs. Why say something with 30 words when it can be said with three?
UX copywriting is highly useful for search engine optimization (SEO) as well. With keyword planning and competitor research, a UX copywriter can craft content that leverages specific terms and phrases to enable relevant online search results and drive web traffic for your digital product. But going back to the point about simple terminology, a copywriter must pick their spots carefully when injecting SEO keywords into the content. It's a fine line to walk.
Word selection is also a crucial part of text labels, call-to-action advertisements, and many other elements of a digital product. These areas require concise and relevant language. For example, consider a website's clickable navigation menu choices. These items need to be short (like a word or two) and clear to allow the user to travel quickly from page to page and find their desired content.
Words really do matter, and we are careful to consider that fact when undertaking a new design project at 3Digit Creative. During digital product development, we carefully research the target audience and relevant industry to create copy that elevates the product to higher levels of engagement and retention.
3Digit is a small agile product design shop based outside of Baltimore, MD. We focus on designing user-centered digital products for mobile and web applications, as well as physical prototyping for early-stage startups and entrepreneurs. Our approach relies on research and rapid prototyping to help businesses turn their ideas into reality.